A tall woman with an outsized personality of her own, she has toured the community centers, church basements and ballrooms of the United States, pulling in a crowd of 50 here, 2,500 there, and mixing it up with cozy TV chats and glossy magazine features.
In the primaries, she was dubbed "the Closer" for her ability to persuade undecided voters to come on board. Now she's the opener, the first-night star called upon to testify about her husband's vision and values, and perhaps settle some doubts about herself.
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I really liked this, what a great gesture.
elp from the first lady
The even-keeled Laura Bush told her through the media that "everything you say is looked at and in many cases misconstrued." The first lady also said Michelle Obama must have meant she was "more proud" of her country than before, not proud for the first time.
"That's what I like about Laura Bush," Michelle Obama said in response. "There's a reason why people like her. It's because she doesn't, sort of, you know, fuel the fire."
She wrote a thank you note to "Dear madam first lady" and made clear she'd learned a thing or two from Laura Bush. "I'm taking some cues."
Michelle LaVaughn Robinson grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a family of modest means.
Fraser Robinson was a local Democratic organizer who worked at a water plant. His wife Marian raised the kids in a one-bedroom apartment on the top floor of her aunt's house, where Michelle and Craig slept in the living room, converted into two tiny bedrooms and a study area.
She fought her way into Princeton, and later to Harvard Law School, and began dating Obama while working at a Chicago corporate law firm. They've been married for 15 years.
She left corporate law for community service positions and later became an administrator of the University of Chicago hospitals. Daughters Malia and Sasha are 10 and 7. The couple reported making $4.2 million last year, their days of financial struggles well behind them.
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Even so, she's proved an adept solo campaigner with blue-collar audiences and with women, able to make a connection with voters whose lives are an economic struggle.
"I wake up every morning, wondering how on the Earth I'm going to pull off that next minor miracle to get through the day," she told a Chicago crowd. She talks about work, workouts, parent-teacher conferences, hair appointments, the burdens of campaign travel, the plugged toilet that her husband left her to deal with one day.
"With the exception of the campaign trail and life in the public eye, I have to say that my life now is really not that much different from many of yours," she said.